NEISP is organising a seminar by Dr. Prachee Dewri

Event From Date: 
Friday, 13 October 2017
Event End Date: 
Friday, 13 October 2017
Event Title: 
NEISP is organising a seminar by Dr. Prachee Dewri
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Transcending Cultural Boundaries: Musical Experiments in Mid-Twentieth Century Assam



Dr. Prachee Dewri

Hansraj College, University of Delhi


During the mid-twentieth century, many parts of India experienced a cultural upheaval which was marked by experimentation in various forms of art and culture. This paper will focus on experiments in the field of music in Assam.


Although these experiments can be traced to the late nineteenth century, when a sense of regional identity was taking shape in Assam, they gained further momentum in the twentieth century. The availability of technology for recording, reproduction and disseminating music exposed artists of the region to a wide range of music, particularly from Europe and the United States. Access to recording technology encouraged artists to collect and record the traditional music of the region, and to create new music relevant to the times by blending the various forms of music to which they were exposed. Significant political developments, such as the intensification of the nationalist freedom struggle in India, also gave an impetus to the creation of new music in regional languages.

In the 1930s and 40s, the availability of communist literature and contact with communist groups influenced the music of the region. The formation of the Assam branch of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) in 1947 was particularly significant, as it brought together artists of different parts of India and created a fertile ground for experimentation. In Assam, the IPTA gave a wider platform to musicians of different ethnic communities of the region, facilitating a cultural and social transformation in several communities. The IPTA brought in an element of social critique and a democratic impulse to the musical experimentation.

The musical experiments of the mid-twentieth century were not a purely aesthetic exercise. This paper will explore social and political implications of these musical experiments.


DATE:   October 13, Friday, 2017

TIME:   3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

VENUE: Room no.324, 3rd Floor, SSS-I, JNU